Melanie Phillips - 'Bigot of the Year'
Melanie Phillips's Jewishness is a significant contributing factor to her being voted Bigot of the Year by gay rights group Stonewall.
Whatever the precise nature of the lady's own personal faith, her moral values as reflected in her writings are manifestly rooted in the Jewish religion in which she was brought up. Specifically her view that heterosexual marriage should be upheld as the social norm is grounded in the Jewish Scriptures with whose spiritual and moral influence she identifies in her self-description as a Jew and in her support for the State of Israel.
So, it was not only the Daily Mail, Spectator and Jewish Chronicle columnist herself who was put in the stocks by the politically-correct establishment gathered at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. Stonewall was also pillorying the sacred Scriptures of her people.
The first book of the Torah, Genesis, describes God's creation of mankind as male and female and sets forth an account of the institution of heteresexual marriage, including the programmatic statement quoted in the New Testament by Jesus Christ: 'Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh' (Gen 2:24). It is that foundational teaching in Genesis that underpins the Torah's disapproval of homosexuality as expressed in the book of Leviticus.
Melanie Phillips herself is a long way from taking a strictly Levitical stance on homosexuality. She supports the decriminalisation of homosexuality that the UK Parliament enacted in the 1960s and denounces ill treatment of homosexual people.
What won her the Stonewall award was an article in January's Daily Mail headlined: 'Yes, gays have often been the victims of prejudice. But they now risk becoming the new McCarthyites'. In it, she argued:
As the old joke has it, what was once impermissible first becomes tolerated and then becomes mandatory.In the light of her own anathema by the PC establishment, her remarks are disturbingly prescient.
And the other side of that particular coin, as we are now discovering, is that values which were once the moral basis for British society are now deemed to be beyond the pale.
What was once an attempt to end unpleasant attitudes towards a small sexual minority has now become a kind of bigotry in reverse.
Expressing what used to be the moral norm of Western civilisation is now not just socially impermissible, but even turns upstanding people into lawbreakers.
The bed and breakfast hoteliers Peter and Hazelmary Bull — who were recently sued for turning away two homosexuals who wished to share a bedroom — were but the latest religious believers to fall foul of the gay inquisition merely for upholding Christian values.
Furthermore, on the principle that there is about a 20-year timelag between what the gay rights lobby blesses or curses and what the British State makes mandatory, 2031 could well be when newspapers that advocate Judaeo-Christian moral values, such as the Daily Mail, are banned.
So, the ungentlemanly treatment of Melanie Phillips by Stonewall bodes ill for freedom of expression in the United Kingdom.
Julian Mann is vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire